Forest Service Finalizes Rules for Stewardship Contracting

Bennet Authored Measure to Permanently Reauthorize Stewardship Contracting in Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Forest Service today announced it has finalized the rules for the stewardship contracting program. Stewardship Contracting allows public institutions like the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into public-private partnerships to reduce fuel loads on public lands and allows the private sector to turn excess biomass into profit. Bennet included the Permanent Stewardship Contracting Authority Act, which permanently reauthorized the program, in the 2014 Farm Bill.

"We have heard from Coloradans across the state about stewardship contracting and the important role it has played in helping maintain our public lands and protect our watersheds," Bennet said. "Stewardship contracting allows us to better manage our forests to mitigate the threat of wildfire, while also creating Colorado jobs in the private sector. We are pleased to see that the final rules have been released so that more of these projects can be implemented."

The final rules for the permanent authority are nearly identical to those for the temporary authority the Forest Service and BLM have implemented since 2003. The rule will clarify the appropriate use of the different contracting instruments the Forest Service uses to implement the Stewardship Contracting authority. The final rule supports existing stewardship contracting policy outlined in the agency's handbook.